A teen suspect accused of shooting dead six people at his family’s home in Indianapolis filmed music videos of himself rapping about guns and killing people.
The 17-year-old suspect, who has not been named due to his age, was arrested Monday after he allegedly went on a shooting spree early Sunday morning – killing his mother Kezzie Childs, 42, father Raymond Childs, 42, 18-year-old brother Elijah and 13-year-old sister Rita. Elijah’s girlfriend Kiara Hawkins, 19, was also killed, along with her unborn baby boy.
He was identified as the gunman by his younger brother Xavier Childs, who suffered gunshot wounds as he fled from the home, according to a police report. Xavier, 15, remains hospitalized but is expected to recover.
A local pastor reacted to the tragedy on Tuesday, revealing his fears that violent lyrics in the suspect’s music may have inspired the killing spree.
Pastor Kenneth Sullivan Jr spoke to WTHR and highlighted a portion of a music video in which a teen he said was the suspect is seen brandishing guns and rapping about ’emptying this b****’.
‘It’s really gut-wrenching, it really hurts,’ said Sullivan, whose relationship to the Childs family is unclear.
He said its possible that the ‘aspiring artist’ was ‘acting out’ things that he rapped about when he carried out the shooting.
‘If you’re constantly feeding your mind negative things and destructive things, it won’t be long before act upon those things,’ Sullivan said.
WTHR reported that investigators are working to determine whether the guns seen in the music video matched the one used in Sunday’s shooting.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has until Thursday to file charges against the suspect. He is expected to be charged for murder/intentional manslaughter with a handgun and attempted murder in adult court given the severity of the crimes.
A teen suspect accused of shooting dead six people at his family’s home in Indianapolis filmed music videos of himself rapping about guns and killing people, DailyMail.com can reveal. The photo above is a screen grab of one of the music videos, with the suspect in the center
A music video shows a teen identified as the shooting suspect brandishing guns and rapping about ’emptying this b****’
WTHR reported that investigators are working to determine whether the guns seen in the music video matched the one used in Sunday’s shooting
Local Pastor Kenneth Sullivan Jr (pictured) reacted to the tragedy on Tuesday, revealing his fears that violent lyrics in the suspect’s music may have inspired the killing spree
The gunman was identified by his younger brother Xavier Childs, who suffered gunshot wounds as he fled from the home, according to relatives and a police report. Xavier, 15, (pictured) remains hospitalized but is expected to recover
Photos and videos from the Childs family’s social media pages suggest that music was a family affair, with several of the children pursuing rap careers.
Xavier’s Instagram page indicated that he performed in a trio with two of his brothers.
Loved ones set up two GoFundMe campaigns – one for the Childs family and one for Hawkins – which together have raised more than $23,000 for funeral costs.
Hawkins’ mother, Rhonique Hawkins, shared her heartbreak with DailyMail.com on Tuesday, revealing that the teen was just days away from her due date when she was killed.
‘She was my first. Everything she taught me made me the woman and mom I am today,’ Rhonique said. ‘I love and miss her dearly.’
Elijah Childs, 18, (left) and Raymond Childs, 42, (right) were among the six victims shot dead at their Indianapolis home on Sunday. The 17-year-old suspect in the shooting is believed to be Raymond’s son and Elijah’s brother. A police report suggests the suspect launched his rampage after Raymond reprimanded him for leaving the house without permission
Kezzie Childs, 42, (left) and her 13-year-old daughter Rita (right) were also shot and killed
Kiara Hawkins, 19, (pictured) was also killed, along with her unborn baby
It was Xavier who called 911 to report the shooting at about 4am Sunday after he fled from the house on Adams Street, according to the police report.
When he got to the hospital, Xavier told officers that his 17-year-old brother was the gunman, saying: ‘They killed my entire family.’
Describing the moments leading up to the shooting, Xavier reportedly told detectives that his older sibling had been scolded by his father for leaving the house without permission.
The father, Raymond, warned his older son that he would be punished later, Xavier said, before chaos erupted.
The younger brother said he was downstairs with his parents when they heard gunfire upstairs. His sister shrieked: ‘He shot them,’ and more shots rang out.
He said his brother then ‘came downstairs with a draco gun, a handgun that shoots rifle rounds, and started shooting’, the police report states.
Xavier ran out of the house as his sibling followed behind him and opened fire multiple times. It’s believed those shots were the ones neighbors reported hearing.
Officers responding to the younger brother’s 911 call arrived in the neighborhood and launched an investigation.
IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey said even after the teen told officers what happened, they weren’t sure what they would discover at the house.
‘Because we had found that young man who has suffered some significant gunshot wounds, and he pointed us in the direction of that Adams Street address, which we had no idea what we would find when we walked in the door there, when the officers walked in the door there,’ Bailey told FOX59.
‘I can’t imagine the horrific nature of what they had to see yesterday.’
The fatal shootings were discovered by IMPD officers responding to a 911 call made by another son of Raymond and Kezzie, who was shot and fled from the home. The son told investigators that his older brother, who has not been named, was the gunman
The Childs’ home on Adams Street is shown above in an undated Google street view image
The older brother, who had fled from the home by the time police arrived, was arrested on Monday roughly 25 miles away in Plainfield, FOX59 reported.
A neighbor told FOX59 that she had tipped officers off to where they could find him.
The IMPD has refused to say whether they found any evidence linking the suspect to the murders when they took him into custody. Media reports indicated that a gun was found in the house.
The department also would not confirm details about the younger brother’s statement, or even confirm that it happened.
‘Our detectives and our violent crime unit follow the leads. They follow information that they gather as part of their investigation through a whole host of investigative techniques and methods,’ Bailey said.
‘We did receive information from the community, from neighbors, from people that were concerned about what happened.’
The suspect is currently being held at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center. He is expected to be charged in adult court later this week because juvenile courts do not have jurisdiction in murder cases involving defendants between 16 and 18 under Indiana state law, according to attorney Ralph Staples.
‘The adult court has jurisdiction, so they will charge him directly there,’ Staples, who is not affiliated with this case, told FOX59. ‘Of course when you’re 18 you’re an adult, but that 16 to 18 range gives the prosecutor some latitude in terms of punishment, but not in terms of charging.’
Staples said the suspect’s age means he will not face the death penalty, but he could get life without parole.
Announcing the arrest on Monday, IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said: ‘Yesterday, we promised swift justice for this heinous act. Today, we delivered on that promised.
‘While removing the alleged perpetrator of yesterday’s mass murder from our neighborhoods does not bring back the lives senselessly lost, hopefully, it will bring us one step closer to healing as a community.
‘I am grateful to all of the IMPD officers and criminal justice partners who have worked tirelessly for the last 30 plus hours to bring justice for these victims, their friends and families, and our entire community.’
Loved ones are seen consoling each other outside the Childs family home on Sunday
The family were found shot dead in their home in the 3500 block of Adam Street, Indianapolis
Loved ones and neighbors gathered on the street on Sunday to console each other and share their shock at what had unfolded in the quiet community.
‘To take a whole family out like that…I just don’t understand,’ Vicki Pinkston, who lives across the street from the Childs’ home, told WTHR.
‘When I saw them take all the people out of there, I could not believe it. I just hope that they find who did this.’
Another neighbor, Rivon Allen-Bailey, said he heard four gunshots ring out early Sunday morning and ran to his window but didn’t see anything.
Pinkston said she learned about the shooting when police knocked on her door at about 5am and asked if she heard anything, which she hadn’t.
She broke down in tears when she was informed that five people and an unborn child had been killed just a few yards away.
‘To take a whole family out like that…I just don’t understand,’ Vicki Pinkston, who lives across the street from the Childs’ home, told WTHR (pictured)
Pinkston said she’d recently stopped by the home where the killings took place to drop off some baby items for Hawkins, whom she said was due next month.
‘I had just given them some stuff from my great-grandson when he was born, but he is bigger now,’ she said.
Pinkston described the family as ‘so sweet’ and recalled their cheery greetings.
‘Oh lord, they say: “Hi, Miss, Vicki” all the time…’ she told FOX59.
‘Now I gotta look over there and not hear they say: “Hi Miss Vicki, how’s your day going?”‘
As she questioned how anyone would commit such an atrocity to such a kind family, Pinkston pointed her outrage at the person responsible.
‘How you feel? How you feeling? How are you feeling about this?’ she asked. ‘It could’ve been yours; it could’ve been somebody in your family.’
Among those gathered at the scene on Sunday was District 9 City Councilman William Oliver, who lives about two minutes away from the ‘act of mass murder’.
‘The shame they brought to the household, to our community is an ultimate disgrace,’ Oliver said of the perpetrator(s).
‘If it was one person or five, I’m totally angry, hurt, and embarrassed.’
Neighbors and loved ones gathered at the scene to console each other on Sunday
In his first press conference on Sunday, Chief Taylor initially said police believed the shooting was a targeted attack carried out by an assailant or assailants. After the arrest he confirmed that the shooter acted alone.
‘What we saw this morning was a different kind of evil,’ Taylor said. ‘What happened this morning, based on the evidence that’s been gathered so far, was mass murder.’
Taylor said it was largest mass casualty shooting in the city in more than a decade, and urged the public to contact police and pass along any information they might have on the killings.
‘What we saw this morning was a different kind of evil,’ IMPD Chief Randal Taylor (pictured) said at a news conference Sunday
Mayor Joe Hogsett spoke alongside Taylor at Sunday’s news conference, saying the person responsible had brought ‘terror to our community.’
He said he had contacted officials with the FBI’s Indianapolis field office, the local US Attorneys office and other law enforcement agencies for assistance in the shooting investigation.
‘I want those responsible to know that the full might of local, state and federal law enforcement are coming for them as I speak,’ Hogsett said.
After the suspect was arrested on Monday, Hogsett issued another statement thanking law enforcement for their efforts.
‘Today’s announcement is the first step toward justice for the senseless acts that cut short the lives of six of our neighbors in the early hours of Sunday morning,’ the mayor said.
‘While nothing can bring back the Childs family, I hope that the swift action of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department offers some comfort to all of those who have been left to grapple with this tragic loss.
‘My thanks go to the men and women of IMPD whose thoughtful investigative work led to the arrest of the suspect, and my prayers are with the family, friends, and community impacted by this devastating act of violence.’
The shooting came weeks after Indianapolis recorded its most violent year on record, with 244 homicides.
City officials have attributed the violence in part to poverty which was exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.